How the Un-carrier Tackles the Super Bowl

By Mike SievertJanuary 30, 2015

What a weekend – and what an insane game! We’ve been blown away by the response to this blog and our Big Game blitz.  Here’s the Un-carrier Bowl by the numbers…

  • >46.7 Million  YouTube views of our ads and teasers
  • >300,000 social media mentions and engagements with our Big Game ads and content
  •  Nearly 3 Thousand articles, blogs, TV and radio clips featuring our Big Game activities reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people.

 That’s not to mention the 100 million plus people who saw the ads themselves in the highest rated game in history.

So, it’s been a fun week spreading the word about the Un-carrier movement!

Now this is fun. I am having a blast watching how team Magenta is going to the Super Bowl in a big, brash and totally Un-carrier™ way – and how customers are responding. Because, when you’re David competing against not one, but two Goliaths, you’ve got to be disruptive and do things differently.  And is that ever happening this week.

Taken together, The Duopoly of AT&T and Verizon spends nearly 3x more on advertising than T-Mobile – billions more over the last few years. But still − in the face of that mountain of money and all those ads – T-Mobile has become the fastest growing wireless company in America. Because we reject the old models and replace them with something entirely new.

Why should our game plan for The Big Game be any different?  We couldn’t simply cede America’s biggest media day to the carriers’ deep pockets. This week, you can see our approach on full display.  Here are my five principles for marketing Un-carrier style.

#1  Embrace Social. 

When you’re taking on a couple of juggernauts, you need to get people talking, and no one has the ability to start a conversation quite like Kim Kardashian West. She is a social media powerhouse – and a disruptor in her own right. Since Monday’s debut on Conan, more than 18 million people and counting have watched her T-Mobile ad on YouTube.  The ad has been tweeted, liked and shared like crazy, and there have been approximately a gillion press articles about it.  It’s funny, self-deprecating and appeals to Kim fans and non-Kim fans alike.

 But, there’s a lot more coming. When the spot airs on game day, viewers can explore Kim’s exclusive Data Stash online. Even better, when you sign-in with Twitter, you’ll get exclusive photos only available in Kim’s secret stash. Very cool.

This isn’t an ad. It’s a social media event. It reaches well beyond the Super Bowl itself. And, we’ve partnered up with Twitter to prepare for the coming flood of personalized Kim-selfies.

#2  Take Risks.

I’m happy to announce that we have a 2nd spot in the Super Bowl, and this one features two of the funniest people anywhere – Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman. They’re a great match for our maverick style. But, here’s the really cool part. They essentially wrote this ad. We brought them a topic, and it was mind-blowing to watch them take the entire project to a whole new level. The result is uniquely Chelsea and Sarah – and very T-Mobile.

Still, some would say it was risky to give over our biggest media platform of the year to two comedians and their creative talents. But that’s exactly what we did, and I think they crushed it. 

You can see the full spot on Sunday. But until then, check out this interview we shot while they were filming the commercial.  

#3  Break New Ground.

When NBC announced it planned to open up their livestream of The Big Game to everyone − with no authentication required − we saw an opportunity to do something unprecedented and create yet another Un-carrier first. Something just for America’s tech savvy Millennials and cord cutters. Because this happens to be a group of people very near and dear to our hearts here at T-Mobile. These people live online and eat buckets of data for lunch – and they’re the reason we designed our network Data Strong™.

Everybody knows that the ads are a big part of “The Big Game” itself.  Why should the online viewers get a different experience or warmed over content?!  So, T-Mobile has created the first-ever ad produced exclusively to livestream during the game. If you’re one of the millions who plan to tune in via NBC Sports Live Extra’s app or website on Sunday, you’ll see the spot’s world debut online. 

But, you don’t have to wait.  You can see it right now.  It stars one very funny Rob Riggle and one very large Vulture. I hope you like it.

 #4.  Be Disruptive.

We’re not only upending the industry status quo with our Un-carrier moves, we also love teaming up with disruptive, brash competitors − like Richard Sherman− to spread the word.

We don’t have the bottomless pockets of an AT&T or Verizon. But we’ve got the Best Cornerback in the NFL, and guerrilla marketing tactics happening on the ground in Phoenix. That includes three giant Magenta branded shuttle buses that’ll be giving fans free rides between key locations leading up to the Big Game. The buses won’t be hard to spot. Just look for the larger than life picture of Richard− and hop on for your free ride, courtesy T-Mobile.

We also kicked off T-Mobile Data Stash™ Dashes this week in Seattle on Wednesday – it was off the chain! – and another in Glendale on Saturday. The first participants to find the secret stashes − based on clues tweeted out by @Tmobile − walk away with thousands of dollars in prizes.  This is a fun way to involve our customers and get pumped for the Big Game.

#5.  Be Real.

None of this – absolutely none of it – matters without authenticity. Customers just know. They know when you don’t believe what you’re saying. So, you better mean it. It has to come from a place of conviction.

At the end of the day, it’s all about saying it straight and keeping it real.  Our Super Bowl campaign is about Data Stash and Wi-Fi calling.  But even more, it's about a company passionately committed to changing a broken industry for the benefit of everyone, and hopefully, having a little fun while we're at it.

Now, that is Un-carrier.